Friday, October 26, 2012

8 Tips For Jumpstarting a Healthy Diet

It's not possible to separate your eating from your health and fitness.  The overused, but all too true saying that “You are what you eat” is worth closer inspection.  Most of us want to believe that the high fat, low food value that constitutes the American diet is somehow turned into good fuel for our body.  What have you eaten in the last four days?  Based on what you know about what is good food, what is your score on the quality of food you have eaten in the last week?  Would you describe your diet as “high octane fuel” that your body needs?  Or, is your body having to sift through the debris that you have ingested to find a few worthwhile nutrients?

If you look around when you are driving, food is everywhere.  Most of it is not what our body wants or needs.  No wonder we overeat so often.  Our body is continuing to look for food that has taste and can really satisfy.  The following are a few helpful hints that might help you improve your quality of eating:

Do not rely on “willpower” to help you make good decisions about eating. When you are really, really hungry, eat the best food for your body Fiber is as close to a magic bullet as there is to satisfy hunger Drink water when you feel hungry Finish your last meal of the day at least two hours before bedtime A small breakfast in the morning gives your body a head start Think long term about your weight Try to consume more high volume, low calorie dense foods

Do not rely on “willpower” to help you make good decisions about eating:  Most people have an idea of what eating behavior routinely causes them to overeat.  They lament “I just end up going to the freezer and eating a pint of ice cream.”  If that’s the case get rid of the ice cream.  Throw it in the trash and get it out of the house.  Make it difficult for you to give in to your dietary whims.  Drive an extra couple of blocks to avoid the convenience store you routinely stop to eat at on your way home.  Willpower is overrated.  Arrange your environment so you can be successful with minimal “willpower.”

When you are really, really hungry eat the best food for your body: Pay attention to this tip because it works.  When I was training for The Ironman, I would train Sunday mornings for 5 hours on the bike.  Then I would go to church and take the family to a Sunday pizza buffet.  I figured I had deserved it; I had burned nearly 4,000 calories.  By the time I reached the buffet, I was starved. Forty five minutes later I had eaten 4,500 calories and I was stuffed.  On my biggest workout of the week, I had eaten more calories than I had burned.  I gained body fat that day.  More interesting, the next Sunday, I started thinking about that buffet an hour before the ride ended.  Each week I could picture that buffet and could not wait to get to my reward for training so hard.  Then it hit me.  I had conditioned myself to obsess on a high calorie dense food.  My mind was conditioned to associate hunger with pizza.  Now I will eat a fruit salad when I come in from a long training session.  Guess what I start craving thirty minutes before the end of my bike ride these days?  Make this “paired association” work for you, not against you.  When you are really hungry, eat something that your body can really use.

Fiber is as close to a magic bullet as there is to satisfy hunger. Eat foods with high fiber content.  If you are older, you may want to add a fiber supplement with your meals.  You will feel satisfied with less food and even lower the risk of some cancers.

Drink water when you feel hungry. Thirst is often confused with hunger.  Dehydration is common during the summer.  Try drinking a glass of water, wait for a while and see if you are still hungry.  You may find that a glass of water will be what your body wanted.

Finish your last meal of the day at least two hours before bedtime Late meals seem to be increasingly common in our fast pace world.  Dinner is bumped back to late in the evening.  Then you end up going to bed before your food has emptied from your stomach.  When you sleep, you do not need many calories.  What can the body do with that late dinner?  You guessed it, the dinner is stored as fat.  Eat earlier and take a fifteen minute walk after dinner.  It is a great time to discuss the day with a significant other.  By the time you get back home your hunger has disappeared.  You have kept yourself from snacking on an additional three or four hundred calories.

A small breakfast in the morning gives your body a head start. Two to three hundred calories in the morning gives your body a little fuel.  We tend to deplete our glycogen during the night.  A small breakfast is part of a smart balanced diet.  I know people who do not eat anything until lunch, or worse, dinner.  By then they are famished and get out of control at dinner.  They end up eating more than they would have had they eaten three smaller meals.

Think long term about your weight. We live in a world of immediate gratification.  People often decide they want to lose weight and want to “lose 5 lbs a week”.  They think losing 5-10 lbs/wk is easy; after all they see it on TV all the time.  Let’s look at the math of losing body fat.  One pound of body fat contains about 3,500 calories.  If you burn 500 calories a day more than you eat, every day for a week you will lose one pound of fat per week.  I know that in the beginning you also lose an equal amount of water, so it is possible the scales may show up to four pounds the first week or two.  If you can average one pound of fat per week over a long period of time, you are really doing well; pat yourself on the back!

Try to consume more high volume, low calorie dense foods. My pizza example above is an example of a high density food.  A typical slice of pizza can have 400 calories.  It is pretty easy to eat 4 slices of pizza and still be hungry.  Four slices at 400 calories is around 1,600 calories.  That is a whole days worth of calories for most of us.  A medium sized apple has about 100 calories.  Can you imagine eating 16 apples in a single meal?  No, you would be full after three apples.  That is the difference between high density foods and low density high volume foods.  Fat has three times as many calories as protein or carbohydrates.  Minimize the fat in your diet.  If you think fatty foods taste better, reread the section above about the food you eat when you are really hungry.  You train yourself to like certain types of foods.  You can retrain your self to eat healthy and never feel deprived.

Diet is such a complicated area.  There are a plethora of books about diet and weight loss.  I hope that these few tips will be helpful in getting your diet headed in the right direction, without massive willpower or deprivation.  Eat healthy and enjoy the improved quality of life that comes with your health.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Shovel Some Snow, Man

Winter Exercise
These exercises are designed to keep people active in ways that will coincide with ordinary holiday events. While you may not believe that putting up holiday lights is an exercise, its a good way to stay active as a family during the winter season. And millions already know that the best place to go for a long walk in a comfortable, controlled climate is at the mall. So enjoy the holidays, but remember there are easy ways to stay fit and active during a season usually associated with overeating and sitting on the couch.

Shovel Some Snow, man 

Exercise Type: cardio-outdoor                                       
Duration:60 minutes
Distance:NA miles
Fitness Level: Easy
Posted By:Greg Stallkamp

Exercise Description

Let me start off with a strict warning that shoveling snow can be a very strenuous activity and is not for those that are out of shape or who have not have not followed a regular exercise routine! Shoveling snow is hard work. It is a great cardiovascular exercise and a tough workout on the arms and back. So put down that snowblower and do it the old fashioned way.
Muscle Groups: Back, upper body, and legs

Step Number 1
Grab a shovel, but make sure its a study shovel. In the past I have tried to use those plastic shovels, and they literally can't pull their weight. I recommend a sturdy metal shovel.

Step Number 2
Shovel some snow. Make sure that you are using your legs as well as your arms and back. Don't overly rely on your back muscles and bending over when lifting the snow. This is a very easy way to hurt yourself. Instead lift with your legs and back and arms in a coordinated manner.

Step Number 3
Make sure that you are shoveling moderate amounts in the actual shovel. Don't try to overdue it, the snow isn't going anywhere.

Step Number 4
If you want to perform a less taxing movement, you can push the snow with the shovel like you would with a broom.

Step Number 5
If you've shoveled your own property and want more exercise, move on to your neighbors. Its a great way to build some goodwill for the summer when your dog leaves a special "treat" in their yard.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

5 Foods To Eat For The Healthiest Body

Find out some of the healthiest foods to eat for heart health, weight loss and healthier skin. Choosing the right foods help your health in two ways. A diet packed with fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and healthy fats helps you feel fuller on fewer calories, which is key in keeping your weight in check. Plus, antioxidants and other beneficial compounds in food offer unique health boons. Keep your body looking its best - inside and out - with these five foods.

1. Green Beans

Filling up on green beans, and other high-fiber foods, can help you prevent weight gain or even promote weight loss without dieting suggests new research in The Journal of Nutrition. Researchers found that women who increased their fiber intake generally lost weight while women who decreased the fiber in their diets gained. The scientists boiled the findings into a single weight-loss formula: boosting fiber by 8 grams for every 1,000 calories consumed resulted in losing about 4 1/2 pounds over the course of the study. Try it for yourself. If you’re consuming 2,000 calories per day, aim to increase your fiber by 16 grams. Raspberries, chickpeas and strawberries can also help you get your fill.

2. Salmon
The omega-3 fatty acids in oily fish such as salmon and tuna can boost your skin’s defenses against UV damage. In a study published earlier this year in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers found that those who ate a little more than 5 ounces of omega-3-rich fish each week decreased the development of precancerous skin lesions by almost 30 percent. Scientists think the omega-3s act as a shield, protecting cell walls from free-radical damage.

3. Brocolli 
1/2 cup of cooked broccoli has just 23 calories and 4.3 mg of carbs. It also contains 2.4 g of fiber, 49 mg of vitamin C, 89 mg of calcium and 0.9 mg of iron. adds that broccoli contains other healthy vitamins, including folic acid, riboflavin, thiamin and niacin. One serving also offers you healthy levels of magnesium, selenium, potassium, beta-carotene and zinc. Active compounds in broccoli include several flavonoids and glucosinolates, the substances that give this vegetable its characteristic flavor.

4. Watermelon
Research shows that eating foods that are full of water, such as watermelon, helps keep you satisfied on fewer calories. (Interestingly enough, drinking water alongside foods doesn’t have the safe effect.) At 92 percent water, watermelon is a good source of vitamin C. When it’s the red variety (some are orange or yellow), it also has lycopene, an antioxidant that may help protect against heart disease and some types of cancer. Other foods that are made mostly of water include cucumbers (95 percent),
salad greens (90 percent) and strawberries (91 percent).

5. Tomatoes
Eating more vitamin-C rich foods, such as oranges, tomatoes, strawberries and broccoli, may be a secret to smoother skin. Research in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition links consuming plenty of vitamin C-rich foods with youthful skin. The findings suggest that a higher intake of vitamin C from foods is associated with a lower risk of having wrinkled skin and age-related skin dryness in middle-age women. Vitamin C’s youthful effects on skin may be due to its antioxidant properties, which help protect against ultraviolet rays, and its role in keeping skin firm via collagen synthesis, say the researchers.


Friday, October 19, 2012

Top 10 Fat Fighting Super Foods

1. Flax Seed – I add ground flax seed to a high-fiber cereal every morning. It contains fatty acids, omega 3 and omega 6, that actually help fight fat.

2. Oatmeal – Steel cut oats are best. The longer it takes to cook the oats the better. Oatmeal provides a lot of fiber and minerals. In studies, consuming oatmeal daily can normalize cholesterol. Avoid the instant and sweetened varieties. They contain sugar and are lower in fiber.

3. Spinach – One cup of cooked spinach has only 42 calories. Packed with vitamin C, beta-carotene and lutein, spinach helps reduce the risk of heart disease. I love mine wilted and topped with balsamic vinegar.

4. Pinto Beans – A half-cup of canned pinto beans has 105 calories, 1 gram of fat, 6 grams of fiber and plenty of folate, which protects your body from heart disease. I use pinto beans, along with black beans, stewed tomatoes and spices like cumin and chili powder to make a delicious vegetarian chili.

5. Garlic – Garlic lowers “bad” cholesterol and is a natural antibiotic/anti-viral. But whether you have a cold or not, I recommend eating it. Chop off the top of a clove of garlic, drizzle with olive oil, and roast it in the oven for a sweet spread to top whole grain crackers. Roast it until it feels soft.

6. Onions – Onions contain a powerful plant anti-oxidant, quercetin, that protects your body from cancer. A cup (chopped) has 61 calories, 0 fat and 3 grams of fiber. Eating them chopped, and raw, is best because this releases the quercetin. When I’m not in the mood for raw onions I sauté them in olive oil to top veggie dishes.

7. Cayenne- Cayenne proved in studies to contain an ingredient that boosts your metabolism. I always add it to my vegetarian chili. If you can’t handle the heat it is available in pill form.

8. Salmon – Salmon and other cold water fish are a great source of lean protein. They also contain essential fatty acids. I broil salmon and add a squeeze of lemon and a spice mixture that is low in salt, like Mrs. Dash.

9. Sweet Potatoes – Sweet Potatoes are great for when you are craving something starchy, but don’t want to splurge. They are actually very low on the glycemic index scale and are packed with nutrients. I make sweet potato “fries” by cutting them into wedges, coating them in olive oil and spices and baking them until slightly crisp, usually around 35-45 minutes.

10. Be Positive And Happy No Matter What!!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Lose Weight Today!

Getting a great workout goes beyond the number of reps you do or the miles you log on the treadmill (though that does help too). In all the running road races I've trained for—from 5Ks to marathons—I know that what I put into my body before and after a race or a training run can either help or hinder my performance.
Regardless of what type of exercise suits your fancy, here are some tips on what to eat before, during and after a workout, as previously reported on inEatingWell Magazine.
A low-glycemic-index mealIf you're the type of person who can't work out on an empty stomach, you may want to try this to boost your fat burn: eat a meal made with "slow-release" carbohydrates (think: oatmeal, bran cereal, a whole-wheat bagel or toast) three hours before you work out. In a study published in theJournal of Nutrition, researchers assessed the rate of fat burn among eight healthy women after they ate two breakfasts: muesli with milk, peaches, yogurt and apple juice on one day; cornflakes with skim milk, white bread with margarine and jam and an energy drink on another day. Both meals contained similar amounts of calories, but the first breakfast (muesli) was a low-glycemic-index (GI) meal, meaning it produced smaller spikes in blood sugar than the second breakfast, which was a high-GI meal. Generally, foods that contain protein, fat and/or fiber—and are digested more slowly—fall lower on the GI scale than those that consist mostly of carbohydrate (e.g., white bread). On the days when the women ate the low-GI breakfast, they burned nearly twice as much fat during a 60-minute walk as they did on the days when they ate the high-GI meal. Why? The muesli (low-GI) breakfast was more slowly digested so it didn't spike blood-glucose levels as high as the cornflake (high-GI) breakfast did. In turn, insulin levels didn't spike as high either—which probably explains why the muesli-eating women burned more fat, says Ian MacDonald, Ph.D., director of research at the University of Nottingham Medical School. Insulin plays a role in signaling your body to store fat. So, lower levels of insulin might help you to burn fat.

Water: Staying hydrated can help you perform better: in one study, people who were just slightly dehydrated were typically only able to run, for example, about 75 percent as hard as usual. Hydrate pre-exercise with 2 to 3 cups of water, 2 to 3 hours before exercising.
During your workout: 
Honey: To boost your energy during endurance activities, recent research suggests that carbohydrate blends (foods containing fructose and glucose) may be superior to straight glucose. But before you reach for a sports drink, consider honey: like sugar, it naturally has equal parts fructose and glucose, but it also contains a handful of antioxidants and vitamins. (The darker the honey, the more disease-fighting compounds it contains.)
Flavored water. Drinking flavored water while you're working out might make it easier to stay hydrated. In one study, people given flavored water while exercising drank more than exercisers given plain water. Choose wisely though: some brands can deliver as much added sugars as soft drinks while others use artificial sweeteners to cut the calorie load.

Chocolate milk: If your workout lasts an hour or more, have a glass of chocolate (or plain) milk. The carbohydrates in it will help replenish the energy stored in your muscles (called glycogen stores) and aid in muscle recovery—more so than a carb-only drink. Don't like milk? Substitute with a post-workout snack of banana and peanut butter.
Tart cherry juice: Tart cherry juice delivers antioxidants that mop up the harmful free radicals produced when you exercise. And research shows that a daily dose of cherry juice may help ease inflammation that causes sore muscles. A 2010 study in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found that runners who downed 24 ounces of tart cherry juice (about 480 calories) for seven days before a long-distance race, and again on race day, reported fewer aches afterward than runners who drank a placebo. Skip the juice right before or while you're exercising, though: fructose, the primary sugar in fruit, takes longer to digest than other sugars (like those in sports drinks), so drinking juice before or during exercise may cause stomach cramps.